Selecting The Right Finishes

Finishes are the permanent but non-structural aspects of a home – from kitchen benchtops, to bathroom basins. 

Finishes should be harmonious with your chosen decorating/design style – be guided by whether you want a contemporary, classical, country, transitional, industrial or minimalist look.

Remain cohesive with your colour scheme; consider matt, gloss or textural; consider the edge of your benchtops; their thickness; the style of your cabinet doors; if you want handles or touch release…. and of course, durability is key – how will your finishes perform?

Consider the function of the space, household members, and their lifestyle.

There are many options; many decisions – here’s a quick checklist of some of the finishes to consider to kick off your research. 


Material - from natural stone including marble, granite, engineered stone, laminate, concrete, timber, bamboo, acrylic based, to stainless steel. 

Sinks / Basins

Material – from stone, acrylic, ceramic, porcelain, stainless steel, cast iron, glass, to copper. 
Style – from above-counter/vessel; pedestal, console, self-rimming, under-mount, to integrated.

Taps / Mixers (sinks, basins, showers, baths)

Material – from zinc, stainless steel, brass, chrome plated, to copper.
Finish – from matt, brushed, antique to gloss.
Style – crosshead, lever, pull-out, wall mounted, to pillar.

Cabinets / Vanities

Material – from melamine, timber veneer, solid timber, vinyl wrapped, 2-pack, to laminate.
Finish: matt, gloss, satin, distressed, to textural.
Door style – from shaker, louvered, flat, in-set, bead board, glass, sliding, tongue and groove, to heritage.


Material – from pressed metal, glass, stone, stainless steel, concrete, to tiles. 

TIPS for tiles:

 Choose rectified (mechanically cut) if you want a seamless look and narrow grout.
Match grout to tile colour, or emphasise with a contrasting colour. 
Decide on the laying pattern: from stacked, brick, herringbone, English bond, windmill, diagonal, to basket weave.

 Ask questions, get samples, place them next to each other, place them in situ (if possible) – and once confirmed, write down every detail so that the schedule becomes a shopping list:
room, item, supplier, colour, material, finish, code, size, profile.

Get cracking – these finishes need to be decided on early in the design process so that you don’t leave your tradespeople in the lurch… time is money….

What finishes I’m loving right now

Mixing it up with the raw, the organic, and the polished. 
Concrete benches and splashback.
American oak cabinets with touch-release mechanism.
Above-counter rectangular basins.
Wall-mounted copper taps.
Oval American oak narrow-rimmed mirrors.